Thanks to the insider brilliance of desert guide and explorer, Death Valley Jim, we Wild Women Hiking had two brand new and unique experiences this month at our all-women hiking adventure in Joshua Tree National Park. We explored a top secret cave of Native American pictographs as well as a 19th century stone miner’s cabin. We felt like treasure hunters, and well, we were! In my opinion, there’s no greater treasure to find than hidden history tucked deep in the backcountry.
The Native American site was simply awe inspiring. Red ochre paintings covered every surface. There must have been hundreds of images. I had to keep reminding myself that, “This is not Disneyland. This is real!” It warps the mind a little bit to sit amongst history untouched. We were very careful not to touch anything and to leave the cave as we found it.
The Eagle Cliff miners cabin was equally mind bending. Imagine what you’ve read in history books about a 49er staking a claim and living in a little handmade shelter next to the mine. That is exactly what we saw. The rock cottage was built into the cliffside boulders. Spaces were filled with smaller boulders and the roof was log beams covered with sheet metal. See my video of the cabin and be amazed. The household was complete with a chimney, kitchen, pot & pans, tin cans, a crate of coffee, shelving, and a window paned with wavy glass. Talk about stepping back in time. It was like magic.
Please do not ask me to point you toward these secret locations because I have been sworn to secrecy, but I can point you to a few clues about the Eagle Cliff Mine site as well as dozens more hidden history finds in Joshua Tree National Park. Check out Death Valley Jim’s book Hidden Joshua Tree for an adventure of a lifetime. We sure had one and look forward to more.